The US men's national team pool is full of some of MLS' buzziest players, but even though he's not yet eligible, Julian Gressel remains on the minds of many watching the national team. And the D.C. United midfielder, who received his green card in spring 2019, called a possible future call up for his adopted home an honor.
Gressel, who was born in Germany before coming to the U.S. for college, was a guest on The Cooligans podcast this week, where he shared his international aspirations.
"If the possibility's there, I think it'd be a tremendous honor," Gressel said. "I think if there was no way for me to get a call up from Germany and the US would be interested to call me up into a camp or for a game or whatever, I'd be very honored to represent the US. I've been here now for a long time and call this my home so it'd be a cool thing for sure, but for now we've still got to wait a little bit."
He also addressed US coach Gregg Berhalter's comments that he would wait for Gressel, saying he "appreciates the compliment."
"I think it's an honor for him to mention that 'cause he doesn't need to talk about me," he said. "I'm so far away from even the possibility of me playing there. It's obviously an honor for him to say that and to have me in his mind is kind of cool."
Gressel, who joined D.C. United in a big-money trade from Atlanta United ahead of the 2020 season, also offered an update on his path to US citizenship, saying he is on track to be eligible to become a citizen in April or May of 2022, three years after acquiring his green card.
"I think next year, either April or May, that's when I would be able to become eligible to become a citizen — I've had my green card then for three years, I think," Gressel said. "That's the first time it would even be a possibility but until then, I'm just going to continue to play better than I did last year in MLS and win some more games. That's really all I can control right now, and I'm just going to try and focus on that."
It would potentially make him eligible for the US just months before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with Gressel lightheartedly saying "the timing's actually great."
Check out the full interview with Gressel on The Cooligans, where he talks about his hopes for an improved 2022 with D.C. United and plenty more.